UCPD Frequently Asked Questions
The UCPD is the primary police agency on the University of Chicago’s campus and University property, and also patrols an area that extends north to 37th Street, south to 64th Street, east to Lake Shore Drive, and west to Cottage Grove Avenue. Within the extended patrol boundaries (off campus and outside of University property), the UCPD serves in a supportive role with the Chicago Police Department as the area’s primary policing agency.
The Illinois Private College Campus Police Act authorizes the University of Chicago and other private higher education institutions in Illinois to appoint campus police departments. It is from this statute that members of private campus police departments in Illinois, including the UCPD, derive their authority to act as municipal peace officers on their campuses, University property, and contiguous public property. UCPD officers are also authorized as peace officers for an extended jurisdiction off campus in accordance with Chicago City Ordinance, most recently Ordinance O2011-7316. The City Council has expanded the UCPD’s jurisdiction to assist the Chicago Police Department with the needs of the communities surrounding the University. The measure was developed in response to community needs and requests from community leaders for the University to play a role in public safety and other issues of concern to residents.
The CPD is the primary police agency serving the communities surrounding the University’s campus. As a result, the CPD is the investigating agency for any incidents off-campus and maintains records pertaining to arrests made in these areas.
The Chicago Police Department is the responsible policing agency for any incidents that occur off campus and on non-University owned property. If the UCPD is called in response to an incident that occurs off campus and not on University-owned property, but is within its extended patrol area, UCPD officers will respond to the scene and assist the CPD as appropriate. The CPD will write the police report, unless they ask the UCPD to do so.
Sharing information on how the University of Chicago Police Department operates on campus and in neighboring communities is an important way that we foster a strong and trusting relationship with those we serve. The University provides information on UCPD activities through a variety of channels, including a daily crime/fire log. The UCPD provides expanded access to crime data, traffic stop information, field interviews, and arrest records upon request, while also providing links to information available through other agencies such as the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Department of Transportation. The scope of the information that the University shares related to UCPD activities was determined after an extensive process of discussion and engagement with local residents, elected officials and members of the University community, and goes well beyond the requirements of Illinois law for police departments at private institutions.
UCPD leadership, which includes a chief of police and a command staff, oversees the department’s policies, crime prevention strategies, and community outreach efforts. Like other police departments, UCPD command staff sets the overall direction of the agency and supervisors guide officers in their day-to-day work.
The UCPD is part of the University of Chicago’s Department of Safety &Security (DSS). DSS is comprised of the University’s Transportation & Parking Services, Emergency Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Security Systems, Protective Services, and Professional Accountability offices. DSS is led by the Associate Vice President for Campus Safety & Security and is overseen by the vice president and general counsel, who reports directly to the president of the University.
New police officers undergo a 16-week training program at the Chicago Police Department’s education and training academy. Incoming officers are also given instruction on ethics, diversity, and fair and impartial policing. Upon graduating from the academy, officers undergo a 12-week field-training program provided by UCPD officers and supervisors.
Every year, all of our officers receive ongoing in-service and video training. Last year, individuals vying to become University of Chicago police officers received more than 10,300 training hours while our current officers received more than 3,800 hours of formal training.
As of 2015, officer training has been expanded and enhanced to include several new areas. This includes procedural justice training, which equips officers with tactics on fairness and professionalism; fair and impartial policing training, which helps officers better understand the nature of bias and how illegitimate police tactics such as racial profiling can have a corrosive effect on the communities they serve; and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, which teaches officers how to appropriately respond to persons who may need mental health support.
The Department of Safety & Security’s Office of Professional Accountability, reporting directly to the chief of police but not staffed by uniformed officers, is responsible for managing, conducting, and assigning internal affairs investigations, including sensitive internal investigations of employee misconduct, answering inquiries and minor complaints, and taking complaint reports.
Complaints regarding excessive force, violation of rights, verbal abuse, or dereliction of duty are reviewed by the Independent Review Committee (IRC). The IRC, which operates outside of and independent from the UCPD, is comprised of members of the community, students, faculty, and staff members. The IRC reviews complaints against the UCPD and evaluates their actions. When necessary, the IRC makes recommendations regarding UCPD policies and procedures. A committee report of all incidents and recommendations is given annually to the President, Provost, and Vice President for Operations & Chief Financial Officer, and is available to the campus and community. A full explanation of the complaint process can be found on our Complaint Process page.
The UCPD expects its officers to treat every member of the public fairly, professionally, and with respect. Complaints from the public regarding the conduct of our officers are taken very seriously and are thoroughly investigated.
Those who choose to file a formal complaint are required to sign a sworn affidavit attesting to their claim. Complaints can also be provided in the following ways:
Call the Emergency Communications Center at 773.702.8181 any time, day or night, and ask to speak to the shift supervisor
Complete the online complaint form
To file a complaint in person, go to UCPD headquarters, located at 850 E. 61st Street. Headquarters is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week (call 773.702.8181 after 5 p.m. to enter the building).
Body-Worn Cameras FAQs
Body-worn cameras can assist with evidence collection and documentation, serve as a training tool, help settle disputes, and ensure that service delivery standards are met.
Officers must provide notice of recording only in circumstances when the individual being recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in their home. The officer is not required to give notice for recordings on the public way or in public places.
If an officer responds to an incident, he or she must have their camera on at all times. However, if a victim or witness to a crime does not want to be recorded, they can request that the camera be turned off.
Use of body-worn cameras is becoming a best practice for police departments, including those on university campuses. Several universities, including Yale University, Wake Forest University, Duke University, Tulane University, and Rice University, are already using these devices.
Taser Deployment FAQs
Taser is the brand name for a conducted electrical device used by law enforcement to incapacitate an individual without using lethal force. Click here for the UCPD Policies and Procedures, which contain additional details on how Tasers are used.
The decision to implement Tasers was made after thorough evaluation of both the use and impact of Tasers within municipalities and on college and university campuses that have deployed them, as well as best practices for their deployment.
A large number of law enforcement agencies nationwide have equipped officers with Tasers, and we have learned from their experiences, particularly the development of restrictive policies designed to increase safety while minimizing risk. Additionally, the Chicago Police Department, which is the primary law enforcement agency within UCPD’s off-campus patrol area, has implemented the use of Tasers, so equipping UCPD with Tasers will provide greater consistency in policing practices.
Studies have concluded that with proper training and restrictive policies, the devices are effective at reducing civilian and officer injuries while reducing the use of force. While in a number of circumstances they are not a viable option, in appropriate use-of-force situations, Tasers provide officers with an additional less-lethal option.
Under our policies, UCPD officers must complete a minimum of 8 hours of department training from a UCPD Department-approved certified Taser instructor before being issued a Taser. Taser training and certification/recertification include the user demonstrating proficiency with the Taser, as well as training on the Department’s use of force policies. Officers are authorized to use the device against assailants under a restricted set of circumstances. You can find more information on our policies on this subject here.
Along with completing a basic police training academy, all UCPD officers receive additional robust training that includes:
Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS)
Crisis Intervention Training
Use of Force, in which de-escalation is an integral part of the training
Use of Less Lethal Force
Firearms Simulation, which tests judgment
Weaponless Control Techniques